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2020 Cadillac CT5-V: Higher Performance ... Ish

Competes with: Audi S4, BMW M340i, Mercedes-AMG C43

Looks like: A slightly hotter version of the new 2020 CT5

Powertrain: 355-horsepower, twin-turbo 3.0-liter V-6 with 10-speed automatic transmission; rear- or all-wheel drive

Hits dealerships: Early 2020

Cadillac insists its new CT5 sedan is not a direct replacement for the outgoing CTS, that it’s a different animal in the brand’s new 2020 sedan lineup. If that’s the case, the new 2020 CT5-V the brand unveiled yesterday makes a little more sense, as it’s assuredly not a direct replacement for the 640-horsepower CTS-V. Cadillac’s new plans for the V-Series models have reduced them to hotter versions of the existing Sport trims of the new sedans (the entry-level CT4, compact CT5 and larger CT6) instead of the track monsters that prior V-Series vehicles had been. The goal is to make the V-Series more affordable and accessible to more buyers without the crazy performance upgrades of past V-Series models.

Related: 2020 Cadillac CT5: If Anyone Still Wants a Sports Sedan, Enjoy

Exterior

Styling changes for the CT5-V are minimal. The blacked-out trim of the CT5 Sport continues here with slightly more aggressive front and rear treatments, unique V-Series mesh grilles, unique rear diffusers and quad exhaust tips. The car receives standard 19-inch wheels, and high-performance summer tires for the rear-wheel-drive versions or all-season high-performance tires for all-wheel-drive models (although you can specify summer tires for those, too).

Interior

Changes inside changes for the new V-Series are even less notable, limited to a new instrument cluster and V-Mode steering wheel button. The button activates a special driving mode that changes all settings to their most aggressive. The carbon-fiber trim from the CT5 Sport is present, while orange piping on the dark leather seats is new. Elsewhere, the interior follows the route of a well-equipped model slotted in above the Sport trim.

Under the Hood

This is where most of the changes have been made. Unlike previous V-Series models, the changes have created a car that’s more capable and aggressive than the Sport model but not a full-on muscle car. For the CT5-V, the twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6 present in the Sport gets a mild bump in output to 355 horsepower, up from 335 hp elsewhere. Like the Sport, power runs through a 10-speed automatic transmission. Rear-wheel drive is standard; all-wheel drive is optional. Cadillac reworked the suspension and steering for a more aggressive feel, while the CT5-V also gets fourth-generation Magnetic Ride Control, the brand’s next-generation adaptive suspension. An electronic limited-slip differential is standard, while larger Brembo brakes up front offer electronically adjustable pedal feedback.

On the electronics front, a Performance Traction Management system helps put power to the ground, while five different selectable drive modes can tune the car’s various systems to your preference. A launch-control function is also newly available in case you want to rip off some repeated acceleration runs. Cadillac’s Super Cruise semi-autonomous, hands-free highway driving system will also be available sometime after the car goes on sale, but all Cadillac would say is that it’s coming in “calendar year 2020.”

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Cadillac says to expect more news regarding V-Series models, and we should hear about it sometime in the next few weeks. It’s likely that a hotter version of the CT5, something edgier and higher-performance, is on tap; it may even offer a manual transmission. This new CT5-V is not the high-performance variant, but at least it shouldn’t cost much more: Cadillac says that the V-Series will be about $4,000-$5,000 more than a CT5 Sport, making it accessible to a lot more people.

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